Terms of the Chicago Bulls’ trade offer to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love have emerged. According to Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops, the Bulls are willing to surrender Taj Gibson and rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic if it nets them Love.
Of crucial note in Sheridan’s report is that the ‘Wolves prefer Chicago’s trade package to that of the Cleveland Cavaliers’, which is said to include Andrew Wiggins.
The Chicago Bulls have offered a package of Taj Gibson and rookies Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic to the Minnesota Timberwolves for All-Star forward Kevin Love, a league source told SheridanHoops.com on Wednesday.
The package is extremely intriguing to the Timberwolves, but there is a catch; it cannot be completed for another 29 days because McDermott and Mirotic signed their rookie contracts Tuesday. NBA rules prohibit rookies from being traded within the first 30 days of inking their rookie deals…
The source who spoke to SheridanHoops said he believed the Bulls’ offer was better in the minds of the Wolves than the Cavs’ current offer of Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first-round pick.
But if Cleveland is willing to include a second future first-round pick – it owns the rights to Miami’s first-rounder as well as Memphis’ in 2015) – that might be enough to trump Chicago’s offer.
We wrote on the Cavs’ unwillingness to add future first-rounders to their offer for Love yesterday under the idea that Wiggins was off the table. Multiple reports have since surfaced otherwise, though, lending credence to Cleveland’s firm stance regarding multiple future picks. With Love, LeBron James, and Kyrie Irving inked to financially crippling max contracts after 2014-2015, the Cavaliers’ only chance to add young, inexpensive talent around their Big Three would be the through the draft.
That Minny reportedly prefers Chicago’s offer to Cleveland’s is unsurprising if somewhat confounding. It’s been widely assumed since Love talks intensified that team President and Head Coach Flip Saunders prefers a deal that would keep the Timberwolves competitive as opposed to one that begins a re-building process. The prudence of that position is certainly debatable given the incredible strength of the Western Conference, not to mention the seemingly limitless potential of Wiggins, but that’s the road all signs have pointed to Saunders wanting to take.
The Bulls’ package is actually a nice combination of immediate help and long-term promise. Gibson emerged as one of basketball’s best two-way bigs last season, combining his elite, all-court defense with a suddenly burgeoning low post-game. He’s no superstar, but provided enough offensive juice in 2013-2014 to suggest he could be a solid tertiary scorer on a good team.
McDermott thrived in Las Vegas Summer League play for Chicago, showing off his well-known long-range marksmanship in addition to a floor game that belies his surface reputation as a stand-still shooter. He wasn’t overwhelmed athletically, either, despite playing the vast majority of his time on the wing. The actual NBA game is a different animal than Summer League, of course, but McDermott quelled any concerns that he’d bust as a professional in Las Vegas.
Mirotic is more of an unknown than McDermott. The 6-10 forward won the ACB (Spanish League) MVP award as a 22 year-old in 2013 and the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) MVP this past season with Real Madrid. A skilled big man capable of putting the ball on the deck and stretching the floor from beyond the arc, the biggest concerns with Mirotic center around his merely solid athleticism. Still, ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla recently told ESPN 1000 that Mirotic “would have been in the top [few picks]“ of the 2014 draft.
Don’t get too excited though, Bulls fans (or ‘Wolves fans) – no deal between the teams is close to imminent. As with rumors about Wiggins’ inclusion by the Cavaliers, there’s conflicting information to Sheridan’s report.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune casts doubt on the possibility of Gibson being dealt to Minnesota, even noting that the 2013-2014 Sixth Man of the Year runner-up is comfortable coming off the bench behind the recently acquired Pau Gasol.
Taj Gibson said every time he works out at Berto Center, team officials tell him not to worry about rumors.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 23, 2014
Taj Gibson "loves" the Pau Gasol addition and said he was never told he would start and has no problem coming off bench.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 23, 2014
Jerry Zgoda of Minneapolis’ Star Tribune offers similar skepticism, this time with regard to the Bulls bringing Mirotic over from Europe.
For those asking about Bulls' presence…don't believe they'd court Mirotic & make him promises only to turn around & trade him right away
— Jerry Zgoda (@JerryZgoda) July 23, 2014
However, it also bears mentioning that Sheridan was the first reputable reporter to go on record with a source that said James was returning to Cleveland. Misinformation rules the day in potential player movement, but Sheridan has clearly proven himself a worthy prognosticator. There’s also a chance his source is floating him fabricated intel.
There are multiple teams and multiple individual players that have decided agendas with regard to Love, and we won’t know the veracity of each rumor and report until a deal is finally agreed upon. For now, though, the Bulls seem to have reemerged as a legitimate suitor for the ‘Wolves stranded superstar. And if Sheridan’s report is accurate, Chicago could be his likeliest destination.
Which is a better trade package: Chicago’s or Cleveland’s?
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